It is with great sadness and appreciation that I start my day. It is 6:30am and I only have a few remaining hours in Hanalei. Never have I felt more at home. It is as if I belong here. It is what I’ve always dreamed of….water, lush mountains, no pretentiousness, kind and generous people, never a need for AC or heat, and an overwhelming culture of no stress or worries. In fact, as I was wrapping up dinner last night at the Hanalei Gourmet, a rather old native Hawaiian gentleman sat next to me at the bar. Granted, he was drunk, but he did say two things that were impactful. He said you look completely content (which I am) and then he said to always remember to go with the flow, as if you were a river. Deep hippie thoughts but good advice nonetheless!
I started the day with one last Hanalei coffee, this time a Ginger latte, and a sourdough BLT+egg. Yum. I decided to take a final tour around the north shore and try to soak as much of it in as possible. One thing I haven’t mentioned is Andy Irons. He was in his early 30’s and a 3 time world surfing champion from Hanalei who died a month or so ago. He left an 8 month pregnant wife who gave birth while I was in town. All up and down the roads are signs memorializing Andy. Signs that were grafitti, painted old surfboards propped up, marker on cardboard pieces, banners, etc. It is such an unfortunate and sad story. I hope he knew how much this town loved him.
Here is video of the surfers tribute to him. Warning – you’ll need tissues at hand and your heartstrings will be tender.
After my drive, I stopped back in the Cowgirl to load up and chat with Simon Potts to cheer me up. Simon was an executive with Arista Records in England before cashing out and opening cottage rentals in Hanalei. He’s such a blast and tells stories that make you howl with laughter.
Once loaded into the car I was off to Port Allen to look adventure in the eye. I did an hour long ultraglide ride (think broad cloth wings with two open air seats and what sounded like a big lawn mower engine). It was by far the best $200 I have ever spent on myself. We went over the Waimea Canyon (supposedly dubbed by Mark Twain as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) and then went on to see the NaPali Coast. There are not words to describe how amazing it was. Perhaps the pictures will illustrate better than I can.
From there, I went to Lihue to eat lunch at Hamura Saimin (their specialty is noodle bowls). It is in a questionable part of town, tucked in on a side street among some industrial buildings. I was one of the few non-natives there so I knew it was going to be good. When you walk in all you can hear is the sizzle of the wok and the incessant slurping of soup. No one stops to talk the food is so good. There is just an occasional change in tone when sucking up long noodles rather than broth. I had their special, which was a little of everything, plus some stuff I couldn’t identify. It was SO very good, though. If my belly had more room I would have crammed another down my gullet!
From there off to the South Shore to stay at the Hyatt for the remainder. Even though the Hyatt is stunningly beautiful, my room overlooks the ocean, and pampering is the norm, Hanalei is still on my mind.
On the flip side, I did get to go to a luau tonight where I learned the error of my ways. Poi, which I haven’t been able to develop a taste for, is supposed to be eaten in the same bite with something salty, like roast pig. Now I get it! It is so much better that way!
The luau was called ‘Havaiki Nui’ and included native dances from around the world. The sun dipped behind the performers while we noshed on a whole pig and guzzled Mai Tais. The next thing I knew I was being dragged on stage with other Sagittarians. We were forced to learn hula, which was quite a sight given we’d all had a few. There are blackmail pictures, too…my generous table companions took plenty!
Off to get my beauty rest for paddle boarding tomorrow!